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How to Propose a Session at MAA MathFest or JMM

Submit a Proposal


Submit a Proposal for MAA MathFest 2017


Submit a Proposal for JMM 2018

General Information

Abstract/Session Description

The abstract is the only description that prospective participants will see. It will appear in the meeting program, website, FOCUS and for the Joint Meetings, the Notices. This description should clearly articulate the content and goals for the session, the format of the course, and any necessary prerequisite knowledge, and should be written to help the meeting attendee determine whether or not they wish to attend the session. The abstract should be no more than 1500 characters including spaces.


Enter all the requested contact information for the organizer(s) and panelists (if applicable). You will be asked to provide a very brief biographical sketch for each organizer/panelist, focusing on experience as related to the proposed topic. If an organizer has organized a workshop, panel, or poster session in the last three years either at the Joint Meetings or MathFest, list the meeting, session title and approximate session attendance.

Additional Information

Under AV/Logistical Requests, list any special equipment or logistical needs (An LCD projector and screen will be provided; presenters are expected to bring their own laptops.). Any special needs should be included here in the original proposal for the session. All logistical requests are subject to approval. Also on this tab, list any sponsoring organizations, such as SIGMAAs, MAA committees, or external organizations, and indicate if the same session has been offered previously.

Also, list any scheduling constraints you have during the meeting, the additional details requested under each session type below, and any other information you wish the selection committee to consider.


An MAA minicourse has a workshop format and focuses on some aspect of collegiate mathematics, the undergraduate mathematics curriculum, or mathematical pedagogy. Minicourse participants expect to be involved actively throughout the minicourse, participating in small group discussions, working hands-on activities, etc. Depending on the desires of the organizers, minicourses may include up to 80 participants.

Each minicourse is four hours in length, with the time usually divided into two, two-hour sessions on different days. For example, a minicourse might be scheduled for Thursday, 2:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m., and Saturday, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Other formats and schedules can be accommodated.

  • Repeat Proposal: If this is a repeat proposal, you are urged to contact the Chair of the MAA committee on Minicourses first.
  • Enter your abstract in Abstract/Session Description. Note: This is the only information prospective participants will see. Thus, it should clearly articulate the content and goals for the minicourse, the format of the course, and any necessary prerequisite knowledge. Given space limitations, the abstract should not be more than 100 words in length.
  • Please enter all the requested information for the minicourse organizer(s).
  • In Additional Information, under AV Needs Request, list any special equipment needs. (A computer projector and overhead projector will be provided; presenters are expected to bring their own laptops.) Also indicate whether minicourse participants will be expected to bring their own laptops.
  • In Additional Notes, please include this information: A) Detailed Description: Please include a list of topics to be covered and the approximate time spent on each topic. Also, indicate how the participants will be involved. (Note: Minicourses are scheduled for two 2-hour sessions, on two different days; e.g., Monday and Wednesday, 9:00 - 11:00.); B) Biographical Sketches: For each presenter, provide a brief bio, including information concerning the presenter's experience related to the proposed minicourse; C) Special Logistical Requests: Generally, rooms for minicourses are set up with tables and chairs facing the front. List any special needs for the course, in terms of furniture set-up.
  • Also under Additional Notes, please indicate that you have read and agree to the following two MAA policies: D) Policy on Commercial Promotion: Whereas some minicourses will relate to commercially-available products, such as books or software, the promotion of such products in a minicourse is not appropriate. Participants in a successful minicourse naturally will want to know more about the materials used in the course, but the minicourse may not be used to promote any particular product; E) Policy on Recording or Broadcasting: The recording or broadcasting of any MAA sponsored event, including but not limited to proceedings at sectional and national meetings, workshops, minicourses, short-courses, and colloquia, is strictly forbidden without the explicit permission of the Mathematical Association of America.
  • After you have submitted your proposal, the chair of the minicourse committee will contact you and may ask you to elaborate on the detailed description in 6A.

Joint Meetings Deadline: January 31, eleven months prior to JMM

MathFest Deadline: October 31 in year preceding MathFest

Sample Proposals:

Sample 1
Sample 2
Sample 3

Questions? Contact Leigh Lunsford, Chair of the MAA Committee on Minicourses, at

Themed Contributed Paper Session

An MAA Themed Contributed Paper Session (CPS) may focus on any aspect of mathematics. Examples include expository mathematics, connections within mathematics or between mathematics and other disciplines, the undergraduate mathematics curriculum, or mathematical pedagogy. The CPS committee seeks and encourages proposals that will contribute toward a well-balanced and scholarly program that represents the MAA’s mission.

Themed CPS organizers will be responsible for reviewing abstracts submitted for consideration, deciding which abstracts to accept, communicating with speakers, scheduling and chairing the session program. Organizers must be available to review abstracts and schedule talks during the two weeks immediately following the abstract submission deadline: April 30 for MathFest and the third Tuesday in September for the Joint Math Meetings. Themed CPS session presentations are 15 minutes in length (versus 10 minutes for General CPS session presentations) with 5 minutes for questions and transition to the next presentation.  A single session is generally 3 to 4 hours (9 to 12 talks).

The title and abstract/session description are the only information seen in the public call for papers.  The abstract should:

  • Define and describe the topic of the session clearly in the first three to five sentences. This introduction is meant to succinctly describe what the session is about in order to attract potential audience members and speakers.  You may also briefly mention why this topic is timely, recent changes in this field, or other reasons this session would be of interest to meeting participants.
  • Specifically describe the types of presentations sought for the session (e.g., original research, expositions, innovative ideas, demonstrations, problems, applications, projects, curricular materials, single class descriptions, whole course outlines, assessment methods, accessible to certain groups of people).
  • Emphasize (either explicitly or implicitly) that presentations are expected to be scholarly in nature.
  • Include sponsoring organizations if any (e.g., MAA committees, SIGMAAs).

In Additional Notes, please include any additional information that may be relevant to session selection. This can include justification for why the session should be run and any other information you wish the committee to consider (e.g., rationale, intended audience, reasons why the topic is timely, dissemination plans).  You can also list any anticipated time/scheduling conflicts at the meeting (if applicable).

Proposals for MathFest are due October 15 of the previous year.  Proposals for the Joint Math Meetings are due January 31 of the previous year. To help the CPS committee balance its work load, organizers who submit proposals by the previous December 20 (about six weeks earlier) will be given priority and will receive committee approval or suggestions for revision in sufficient time for revised proposals to be reconsidered by the committee.

Late proposals will be considered only if (i) the committee has time after reviewing all on-time proposals, (ii) the program has availability, and (iii) the proposal would significantly contribute towards a better-balanced program.

Invited Paper Session

MAA Invited Paper Sessions (IPS) are designed to provide "substantial mathematical content in the MAA program at each national meeting." With this goal in mind, the MAA' s Committee on Invited Paper Sessions solicits sessions devoted to exposition in the mathematical sciences. Sessions covering recent research are especially encouraged. Speakers in IPS sessions should be experts in their field committed to giving presentations accessible to a broad, non-expert audience.

IPS organizers are responsible for determining the overarching theme of their session, inviting speakers, communicating with speakers, scheduling, and chairing the session program at the national meeting. IPS session presentations are typically 25 minutes in length with 5 minutes for questions. A session should contain at least four (4) talks on the subject so that the minimum timeframe for an IPS is two (2) hours. IPS sessions typically include no more than six (6) talks.

The MAA Committee on Invited Paper Sessions recruits organizers for sessions and often suggests topics linked to invited talks at national meeting or other topics of broad interest. The committee also accepts proposals from MAA members to organize an IPS, as described below.

To propose an IPS, email the information described below to the chair of the MAA Invited Paper Session Committee at You can also send your questions to the committee chair at the same email address if you would like to discuss a potential proposal with the chair before proceeding to a formal submission.

An IPS proposal should include a proposed title and a 1-2 paragraph description of the topic that will serve as the theme of the session and identify current research to be presented in this session. A list of potential speakers and their affiliations should also be included in the proposal. A named organizer (or pair of organizers) is required.

Once received, the proposal will be reviewed by the Invited Paper Session Committee and a decision to accept or deny the proposal will be made in a timely fashion.

Panel Discussions

MAA panel discussions are typically scheduled for 80 minutes. A panel should include 3-5 panelists along with a moderator, and the proposal should include a list of planned or prospective panelists. The structure of a panel can include introductory remarks from each panelist, but there should be ample time for questions and discussion. Interactions between panelists, as well as interactions between the panel and the audience, are important parts of a successful panel session. Your proposed title should be clear and specific, and should make clear the intended audience for your panel.

In Additional Notes, please include any additional information that may be relevant to session selection. This can include justification for why the session should be run and any other information you wish the committee to consider.


An MAA workshop is a hands-on, interactive session, and is also typically 80 minutes in length. Topics of past successful workshops include creating quality job applications, demonstrating an interactive pedagogy, or working on an activity like paper-folding. Including co-organizers or potential helpers in your proposal is recommended. Your proposal's title should be clear and specific, and should make clear the intended level and audience for your workshop.

Poster Session

An MAA poster session allows for many people with interest in a specific topic to share their work. Proposals should suggest a specific topic of interest to the community – please explain why you think your session will attract presenters. Organizers are then responsible for soliciting and selecting participants. An organizer's email address will be listed along with the title and description of the session in the meeting announcement in MAA FOCUS. The MAA provides tables and tri-fold cardboard backing for the posters presented at MAA poster sessions.

In Additional Notes, please include a proposed maximum number of posters that can be accepted.

If you have questions about submitting a proposal, contact MAA Associate Secretary Gerard Venema.